Greeks pensioners they saw their pensions so they were delighted that some of them decided to emigrate to the poorest country in Europe.
Bloomberg reports, for example, that Mr. George, 75 years old. After his wife died five years ago, he rented his apartment in Thessaloniki, the second-largest city in the country, putting his things in and moving to Sofia, in the capital Bulgaria, where he says that his monthly pension of $ 800 ($ 905) lives "as a king."
"Of course, there are difficulties in adjusting and finding friends," said George, who did not want to name his last name, fearing that the Greek tax authorities would persecute him. "But with the money I have, I can often return to Greece and also have the opportunity to travel."
Greece, among destinations for other retired Europeans, sees its citizens – like Mr. George – who are now trying to live in the last years in the cheapest country of the European Union, located in the north with Greece, after pensions fell at least 20 times during the long-term debt crisis.
They may be glad to have this move, because pensioners are at the heart of a possible new Greek conflict with creditors, the first of which left her a rescue since August. Prime Minister Alecis Tsipras is in danger of creating an impression of stopping reforms because he is trying to avoid the implementation reduction of pensions which will come into force next year.
The Greek budget, submitted to the European Commission on 15 October, includes a scenario without reducing the pension agreed and prepared in 2017 after months of negotiations. The government believes that the country can achieve its budget surplus target before servicing a debt of 3.5% of gross domestic product without such reductions. A decision on this issue will be made by the end of November, according to a European official.
In the meantime, Greek pensioners make a rational choice for moving to Bulgaria. In 2017, according to Eurostat, the cost of living in Greece is almost twice as high as Bulgaria – the lowest in the EU.
Although there is insufficient evidence to show how widespread the phenomenon of retired people moves to the north, unconfirmed evidence suggests that this is the case. The gasoline costs 1.15 euros per liter in Sofia, compared with 1.60 euros in Athens. Espresso coffee in Bulgaria costs 2.30 euros, while the same product in Greece has a price of 4.70 euros. the metro card costs 80 cents to 1.40 euros. The cost of mobile phones is half of them in Greece.
"In general, life is 30% cheaper than in Greece, and if you decide to stay in Sofia, Burgas or Plovdiv," George said. "In smaller towns or villages, life is even cheaper."
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